Streamline your content creation: Steal my system for organising your personal brand photos
photo of photographer Janine Laag working on her laptop


You’re not alone if your system gives you headaches & wastes your valuable time

I’ve had more than one message from past clients asking if they can download their photos again because they’re on their computer somewhere, but they just can’t find them, so I have a very strong feeling my tips might help.

And I get it!

When it comes to the photos I deliver to my clients, I have a totally water-tight system so that I can find their photos quickly and without any headaches.

But for some reason it took me a long time to prioritise organising my own personal brand photos, which meant that whenever I wanted to share a photo of myself, or if I was doing a guest post and was asked to send a photo, I had to go searching, would often just share the photos that were easiest to find (rather than the ones I really wanted to share) and I’d often just end up uploading the same photos over and over again. The extra duplicates just lead to more chaos, more headaches and the space on my hard drive and phone getting sucked up unnecessarily.

All of this takes time away from doing the ‘real work’, the kind of work that actually makes you money, that drives your business forward, and that actually makes you happy.

photo of flowers with photographer Janine Laag working on her laptop in the background

The benefits of having a more organised system for your photos

I want you to:

  • save time (because you won’t have to waste time searching for photos, but you will also streamline your content creation process when you can access your personal brand photos quickly and easily)
  • free up energy so you can spend it on the ‘real’ and things that actually make you happy
  • save money (instead of wasting money on extra hard drives or buying more storage for your iPhone)
  • increase your income (having more time and energy to spend in your business will lead to more profitable activities)
  • reduce stress and overwhelm (honestly, this is life-changing because when you get rid of unnecessary steps, reduce the feeling of chaos and when you can silence that inner critic telling you ‘here we are again, wasting time because you can’t get organised’, it frees you up for more meaningful work and a more meaningful LIFE
    a business woman dressed in jeans working on her laptop while sitting on her bed

    Follow my step-by-step guides to organise your personal brand photos

    This is a mammoth post, I know, but it’s more straightforward than it might seem. My suggestion is that you schedule in time on your calendar to set up one system each day.

    Click on the one that is most urgent for you to skip straight to that section, or work through the steps one-by-one:

    1. On your computer

    2. On your phone

    3. In Canva

    4. In Later


    a black and white photo of a woman reading a booked called 'Alla long you were blooming'


    Step One – Organise your photos on the computer

    (This is the system I use on my Mac. The process will look different on a PC, but you can adapt these steps based on your computer. I use Dropbox for the photos of myself that I share in my business. It’s just easy because I can access my files from any device, but use whatever system you prefer.)


    The problem I used to have:

    I had my own photos scattered on my external hard drive according to the date they were taken, but even though I usually had specific photos that I wanted to find, it took ages to go searching for them and I noticed I was avoiding sharing them because of that.

    How having a system in place has helped me:

    I can find all of the photos of myself without having to search for them, and if I know it’s a headshot I need, for example, I can filter those out so I don’t need to scroll through all the rest to find what I’m looking for.

    How to set it up:

    1. Wherever you keep your files on your computer, create a folder called PERSONAL BRAND PHOTOS (or whatever makes the most sense for you).
    2. Drag that folder to the panel on the left (it has ‘Favourites’ at the top) to create a shortcut to your photos. This folder will then be sitting there whenever you open Finder.
    3. Within that main photo folder (‘PERSONAL BRAND PHOTOS’) create two folders: SOCIAL MEDIA and HI-RES.
      (My clients receive their photos in two sizes: a smaller size, which is right for social media and web, and larger high-resolution files, which I recommend keeping as a backup or if they ever need a bigger file size. So keeping them in clearly-labelled separate folders will help them to quickly find the right files in the right size.)
    4. Many of my clients have more than one photo shoot, so within the main photo folder, I’d suggest something like:

    PERSONAL BRAND PHOTOS (or whatever you’ve called your main photo folder)


    • 1 Photo shoot (March)
      Subfolder: Hi-res
      Subfolder: Social media
    • 2 Photo shoot (August)
      Subfolder: Hi-res
      Subfolder: Social media
    • 3 Photo shoot (November)
      Subfolder: Hi-res
      Subfolder: Social media


    • 1 Photo shoot (February)
      Subfolder: Hi-res
      Subfolder: Social media

    (I number the ‘Photo shoot (Month)’ folders so that they stay in order.)

    5. Lifesaving bonus tip: Add tags to your photos

    Most likely you’ll have your favourite photos that you use often. Highlight those, right click and select ‘Tag’. Add a tag called ‘Favourites’ and choose a colour.

    This might be enough for you, but if you want to take things up a level, you can think about the stories or themes in your image library and add tags based on those.

    For mine, I’ve created tags for:

    • Favourites
    • Headshots (for the portraits that I use often and use as profile pictures or for PR)
    • Details (anything not showing my face)
    • BTS (behind the scenes)
    • BW (black and white)
    • Reels (for the photos that would make good backgrounds for IG reels)

      (Make life easy for yourself and highlight several photos at once and add tags to those, rather than right-clicking and adding tags to each individual photo.

    Step Two – Organise your photos on your phone

    (Again, this is the system I use for my iPhone and Mac. Tweak the process if you have something else.)

    The problem I used to have:

    I used to upload photos from Dropbox to my phone, but because I was on the go I was usually in a hurry and just left them in the main photos folder. All jumbled up. It meant that the next time I needed to access a photo on my phone (and was in a hurry again) I’d just upload it from Dropbox again. Which meant chaos, stress and all of the duplicates were taking up precious space on my phone (meaning I had to pay for extra storage).

    How having a system in place has helped me:

    I know exactly where my personal brand photos are and can access them in a matter of seconds. (This is a very basic system, but sometimes you know you should do something, but it takes someone setting the challenge for you to actually get it done.)

    How to set it up:

    1. In the Photo Library of your phone, create an album with the same name as the one on your computer (for example ‘PERSONAL BRAND PHOTOS’). If you’ve had more than one photo shoot, create a separate album for each shoot and label it with the month and year of the shoot.
    2. In the photos folder on your computer, highlight all of the photos, right click, select ‘Share’, select ‘Airdrop’ and tap on your phone when it pops up. (Just transfer the smaller files that are formatted for social media, since you probably won’t need to access the larger high-res files from your phone.)
    3. On your phone, select all of the photos you’ve just Airdropped and select ‘Share’ to add them to the album you’ve created.
    4. Now they’re all sitting there for those times when you want to post something straight from your phone. Any time you get new personal brand photos, add them straight to the appropriate album.

    Step Three – Organise your photos in Canva

    The problem I used to have:

    I would start thinking about the design I wanted to create, get lost in all the pretty templates, just upload photos and get on with designing my post. Then I’d want to use the same photos again, but couldn’t find them so I’d just upload the same ones over and over again until I was left with a jumbled mess of random photos in the upload folder. To save time I’d keep using the photos that were easiest to find, instead of actually being intentional about the photos I was using in my designs. I started avoiding creating graphics because I just didn’t want to deal with the chaos and stress.

    How having a system in place has helped me:

    This step was a hallelujah moment for me! It may have been obvious to everyone else, but it took me a while to realise there was a MUCH better way of doing things. Instead of just clicking on ‘Upload’ and having all of my photos all jumbled up in one folder, not being able to find anything and then just uploading the same photos again, creating an organised system for my own and my client’s photos has been a game-changer! (And if you’re not a photographer and only have photos of yourself to organise, this will be even easier.)

    How to set it up:

    1. In Canva, click on ‘Projects’ in the panel on the left-hand side.
    2. Click on the button ‘+ Add new’ in the top right-hand corner.
    3. Select ‘Folder’ and name it the same as the photo folder you created on your computer (eg. ‘PERSONAL BRAND PHOTOS’).
    4. Do yourself a favour and click on the three dots and select ‘Star folder’ so it’s easier to find later.
    5. Go into your new folder in Canva and select ‘Add new’, then ‘Upload’. Navigate to the folder on your computer where you’ve got your photos, highlight the photos you want in Canva (just import the smaller ‘social media’ files for now since those are the ones you’ll most likely need in Canva), then click on ‘Open’ in the bottom right-hand corner.
    6. It might be best to keep all of your personal brand photos in one folder, but if it would help, when you’re in your new photos folder, you can click on ‘+Add new’ again and select ‘Folder’ to create subfolders. This way you can group your photos together in categories to make them even easier to sort through. You could create folders in the same way as I suggested for the Tags on your computer, for example:
    • Favourites
    • Headshots (for the portraits that I use often and use as profile pictures or for PR)
    • Details (anything not showing my face)
    • Podcast
    • BTS (behind the scenes)
    • BW (black and white)
    • Reels (for the photos that would make good backgrounds for IG reels)


    When you open Canva to the home page, you’re faced with your ‘Latest designs’, which is just a jumbled mess of designs. But if you just ignore this page and click straight on ‘Projects’, you’ll see all of your folders sitting there, including the folder with all of your photos. If you are working on a design and want to add one of your photos, click on the ‘Projects’ symbol on the left and navigate to your photos folder.

    (Bonus tip: What’s also been a gamechanger for me has been creating separate folders for the different types of designs I use regularly: Instagram posts, IG carousels, A4 lead magnets etc. The trick is then making sure any design you create is saved into the right folder so you can find it easily and reuse it.)

    Step Four – Organise your photos in Later

    (I use Later to schedule my social media posts, but you might be able to apply these steps to other apps.)

    The problem I used to have:

    I would open Later, upload a bunch of photos, create a few posts and schedule them. Then after a while I would want to post one of the photos I knew I’d already uploaded, but it was all just a jumbled mess in the Media Library, so I had to scroll for ages to find the photo I had in mind. Or, more often than not, I would just upload the same photo again – which meant my library was full of duplicates. I got into the habit of resharing the same photos over and over again because they were the ones that were at the top of the list and easiest to find.

    How having a system in place has helped me:

    If I have a specific photo that I want to share, I can quickly and easily find it and schedule a post. I have a few favourite photos and graphics that I know I’ll share more than once, and I can easily find these now so I don’t have to waste time (or headspace) searching.

    How to set it up:

    1. Open Later and go into the Media Library. This is where all of your photos and graphics are stored.
    2. If you haven’t done it already, upload all of the photos from your photo shoot (again, just upload the files that are sized for social media).
    3. Highlight all of them and select ‘Label’, then add a new label called ‘Personal brand photos’ (or whatever label would suit yours best).
    4. Then highlight all of the headshots and add a label called ‘Headshots’.
    5. Create labels to suit all of the types of photos you have (I would use the same system as you’ve used on your computer, in Canva etc, eg. Favourites, headshots, podcast, details, BTS, Black & white – whatever makes sense for your photos and makes them easier for you to find).
    6. Then if you know you want to share a behind the scenes photo of you working with a client, for example, go to the panel on the right hand side, scroll down until you can see the list of labels that you’ve created and click on ‘Behind the scenes’. You’ll then only see the behind the scenes photos. Click on the one you want to share and select ‘Create post’.

    Super bonus, lifesaving tip: Did you know that you can connect Later with Canva, so you can share your Canva graphics straight into Later without downloading them first and then uploading them? Which means a lot of saved time, fewer downloaded files taking up space on your computer and a lot less hassle. Let me know if you want me to show you how to do this.

    Was this helpful?

    Let me know in the comments if this was helpful for you. Did you already have a similar system in place? Any surprises?


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